Tens of thousands march for same-sex marriage in Taiwan
By Michael Gold
TAIPEI (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of demonstrators, many displaying rainbows and glitter, thronged the center of Taiwan's capital on Saturday to press demands to legalize same-sex marriage amid an increasingly tolerant environment on the island nation.
Organizers and participants said they were heartened by the prospect of same-sex marriage becoming a reality, despite enduring traditional attitudes among many residents.
Taiwan's legislature on Friday began a review of a gay marriage bill, which has the support of 53 percent of the public, according to a recent opinion poll, though acceptance of a gay family member remains low.
"Chinese families are still very traditional," said Jennifer Lu of the counseling group Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association and one of the hosts on the center stage. "People still emphasize having an heir and passing on the family name."
On a cool autumn day, the 11th annual parade was marked by colorful costumes, plenty of exposed skin, musical performances and vendors lining the route to and from the city hall.
Spokeswoman Meico Tsai praised the liberal attitudes that have put Taiwan far ahead of its neighbors in terms of tolerance of gays. "Compared to other Asian countries, we're more open, but we still have a long way to go," she said.
Sexual-orientation education is a part of the primary school curriculum and LGBT individuals enjoy legal protection from hiring discrimination and other forms of prejudice.
"Korea is much more conservative," said South Korean national Carmen Yoon, a first-time attendee. "I hope Taiwan will legalize gay marriage and we can follow their example." Continued...